Daily Planet Forum
The Twin Cities Daily Planet is setting up an online candidate forum. To get things started they asked for a 250-word answer to the question, “What would be your top three priorities as a member of the Minneapolis City Council?”
Here’s what I submitted:
The first priority of every officeholder should be community engagement. This is means more than holding an occasional open house. It means going to the people where they are and asking them about their concerns. Outreach must be persistent and relentless.
When people have a say in the decisions that effect their lives, government works a servant instead of an obstacle. My job is to give everyone a voice in City Hall.
City government is charged with providing a set of basic services. These are listed in the City Charter. Keeping care of stuff like streets and sewers should be done before building new amenities like stadiums and streetcar lines. So my second priority is to re-establish priorities in City Hall.
Putting core services ahead of municipal imagineering is not sexy, but essential. Lives depend on it. That means a fully-staffed fire department, and a police department that works with the public to keep crime low. It also means building an environment where human needs are met and all people can live with dignity.
Our civic ethic should be service and cooperation. Which leads to my third priority: Community empowerment.
Let’s find and nourish the seeds of service inside our neighborhoods. This means shifting power—and money—away from City Hall. Let's embrace our own ability to solve the problems we see. This is what I have done as a community volunteer. It transformed my life. It would be an honor to pay that gift forward as a Council Member.